Coral Hydnum
Hericium coralloides
Family: Hydnaceae (Teeth Fungi)

Coral Hydnum fungi is not rare, but rarely seen due to its habitat. The 'bundle' may be thumbnail size or upwards to 12 inches in mass. Its preferred habitat is on logs and dead tree trunks of broad-leaved trees, or in wounds of living trees. The fungi is especially prolific in piles of rotting debris, and usually begin its growth in crevices between the bark and the decaying wood.

To identify the fungi, look for a mass of white branches (turns creamy-yellow with age) with icicle-like hanging spines on the tip of the smaller warts that grow on the skin of the bundle.

The family, generally known as Teeth Fungi, may be soft, tough or brittle. The bundles also vary in appearance. Some have a cap with the teeth hanging from the underside; in others, the teeth make up most of the fungus. Spores are borne on the outside of each tooth. The Indian Paint Fungus is said to have been used by the Indians of the Pacific Northwest as a source of orange dye. Two members of the family are found in the Escambia region; the Coral Hydnum, and the Spreading Hedgehog Mushroom.

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